Influenza Break Down

The flu, more scientifically known as influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. The influenza virus usually enters the body through mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, or eyes.

When a person with the flu coughs or sneezes, the virus then becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. You can also get the flu if you've touched a contaminated surface like a telephone or a doorknob and then touch your nose or mouth. This makes it very important to keep your hands germ-free with frequent and thorough hand washing. Encourage family members to do the same to stay well and prevent flu.

Of course, the risk of infection is greater in highly populated areas like schools, buses, and crowded urban settings.

In most communities, school age children are the first age group to get the flu. They then carry the virus home and to after school activities where they interact with other kids. The flu virus is usually prominent from October through May, the time of year typically known as flu season. Flu viruses enter the body through the mucus membranes of your nose, eyes, or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you are possibly infecting yourself with a virus.

There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. Type A and B cause the annual influenza epidemics that have up to 20% of the population sniffling, aching,coughing, and running high fevers. Type C also causes flu; however, type C flu symptoms are much less severe.

The flu is linked to between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. The seasonal flu vaccine was created to try to avert these epidemics.

The flu treatment you should take depends on your symptoms. For example, if you have nasal or sinus congestion, then a decongestant can be helpful. Decongestants come oral or nasal spray forms. Decongestants are used to reduce swelling in the nasal passageways. However, nasal spray decongestants should not be used for more than a few days because, if they are used too long and then stopped, they can cause rebound symptoms.

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